Is the bar for domestic abuse unrealistically low these days?

A woman who comes home from the military unannounced to surprise her husband, also in the military, finds him in their bed with someone else and slaps him and throws something at him, is found guilty of domestic violence.  She is banned from her own home, (restraining order), her guns are taken away, and her ability to get jobs in the future, seriously compromised.


A man who slightly injures his 16 year old child while dragging her back into the house house at 10 pm at night while she screams that he's trying to kill her for all the neighbors to hear, is charged, even thought the some of the bruises the police found look suspiciously like they were self inflicted.  The bruises on her arms where he grabbed her are real.  She wanted to go party with her druggie friends and Dad wanted her to go to sleep so she could go to school the next day.  Dad get lucky this time, it only costs him tens of thousands of dollars and a few weeks in jail.


A family catches their 17 year old son with drugs, they demand to know where he got them and the boy curses at them.  Dad, who is smaller than the son slaps him, so the son marches in his room and uses the cell phone his folks gave him to call the police who arrest his Dad.  It's clearly illegal for a Dad to slap his son.


And the most bizarre one I know personally, a rather stupid man who is a real wimp, was angry at his wife for overspending, called a friend and for the hundredth time said things like "I'm going to strangle her".  His friend was on speaker phone, a third party overheard and called his wife the next day, and his wife called the police claiming she believed the threat.  The next day the police came by and asked him if he'd really uttered those words, he stupidly say yes, believing his meaningless blathering was harmless as long as he never laid a hand on anyone, and they locked him up.  He's now a felon, who has never laid a hand on anyone.


I don't like violence but there is a huge difference between beating the crap out of someone, and pushing the around, slapping them, or even attempting to restrain a disobedient child.  I don't think a parent should ever go to jail and be convicted of domestic violence for trying to stop a child from leaving the house late at night.


Dino Manalis Added Nov 23, 2017 - 12:21pm
Discussion is essential before domestic abuse charges are levied, each and every situation is different and law enforcement should try to ease tensions amicably, if possible, and forward individuals to social services, if necessary.  Domestic abuse shouldn't be downplayed, it's either serious  or less serious which could worsen without assistance.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 23, 2017 - 12:52pm
I would say 'no'. You found some cases in which the court has decided badly. But this is really about the quality of the court system as such. Similar observations can be made for all areas of crime. There are also far too light punishments sometimes.
Riley Brown Added Nov 23, 2017 - 2:48pm
Dino I think law enforcement does try hard, but the bar is spectacularly low as the case I cited where someone I know was successfully locked up even though he never laid a hand on ANYONE ever and no one claimed he had.
Personally I'd say he was locked up because of his own stupidity but that's not and should not be punished as severely as when someone really does beat someone up.
Riley Brown Added Nov 23, 2017 - 2:50pm
Benjamin I'm sorry to hear that you think hard time is deserved for each of the real life examples I cited, now I know someone who votes for this stuff.  Previously I thought these were unintended consequences.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 23, 2017 - 3:06pm
Riley: Misunderstanding. The last sentence relates to court verdicts in general, not your listed examples. I also know child beaters and men who made serious death threats and got away with it. Some cases are ruled too mild, others too harsh. I don't think that this is specific to domestic violence. I think most areas of crime have a wildly mixed court verdict history.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Nov 23, 2017 - 7:35pm
Way too many busybodies and rats in the land of the formerly free. 
Government has no place in family affairs. Full stop. 
Phil Greenough Added Nov 23, 2017 - 9:39pm
Where is the bar set?
Who set the bar?
The only way to answer your question is to answer my first question.  However, to the extent you have a point to make, I would think my second question is the one that matters most.
Riley Brown Added Nov 23, 2017 - 11:07pm
Benjamin I too have known a few very scary people who seem to be smart enough to keep themselves out of jail, and that fact doesn't make me like the newer domestic violence rules any more than I did before. 
We've tried to head off real bad violence perpetrated by hard core criminals by spotting and severely punishing anyone who displays any of the "symptoms" we think correlate with the real violence. 
I do suppose the people who beat the tar out of their partners and children, or kill them, probably previously pushed, slapped or threatened them verbally but so did millions of other people who will never go postal. 
There was a time when we tried really hard to make the punishment fit the crime, but with may domestic violence convictions, they go way too far and justify it by saying they are trying to head off real bad criminal behavior.  It's wrong, the net is cast far too wide.
Riley Brown Added Nov 23, 2017 - 11:15pm
Phil, the bar has moved in many ways, for example:
Not that long ago you had to hurt someone to get in real trouble unless perhaps you got caught trying to hire someone to do your dirty work for you.  You could tell everyone you wanted to kill someone except perhaps for the President and no charges would ever be filed unless you actually took steps to act on your words.
Not today, all it takes is saying something like "I'm going to kill him", and if the target person says they feel threatened, even if they are your spouse and you've never laid a hand on them, you get locked up big time.  They don't even have to hear you say it.
Have you ever hear someone utter those words?  Well today that's risky behavior involving a felony and prison time and your previous history of non-violence makes no difference.
Riley Brown Added Nov 23, 2017 - 11:19pm
Jeffrey, I agree Big Brother has become far too involved in family business. 
Very disobedient children are taught they have the right to disobey their parents and can have them arrested if they use physical means to try and stop them, as my friend with the daughter found out the hard way.
We are responsible for our children's behavior, and can even be taken into court if they fail to go to school, but we are powerless to do anything but beg them to please please go to school.
The day the paddle was banned from the classroom is the day many teachers lost control of their students because these days the students can do anything they want, including yelling at the teachers and the teachers have nothing to threaten them with in return.
Simply Jews Added Nov 24, 2017 - 9:23am
I am sure you had only good intentions when writing this. And the cases you brought up, I am sure, are true. But for every case of the kind you mentioned, I can bring several cases of wife (or kid) beaters who got off with a slap on the wrist several times and eventually killed or maimed their spouses or their kids.
I agree with Benjamin here that the cases you mention are rather a result of overzealous law enforcement and judges than anything else, and that in most cases the opposite happens: the law is too lenient with violence in the family. 
Riley Brown Added Nov 24, 2017 - 10:16am
Simply Jews, if I know several people who have been over-zealously prosecuted in the name of "domestic violence" thousands more must exist. 
I probably would agree with you that the real violent criminals too often get away with a slap on the wrist, but that doesn't excuse the over-zealous prosecution of thousands of people who were obviously never even accused of BEATING another person.
I dislike smokers and often see them throw butts on the ground which I think is wrong, but I would not expect them to be prosecuted the same way as someone who dumps hazardous chemicals in public places.  To me those are two very different crimes which should never be lumped together.
A dad why slaps a disobedient son once, or a wife who slaps a cheating husband once, is not the same as a husband who beats his wife so badly she has to go to the hospital, but all three will spend time in the slammer if convicted.  All three will be labeled Felon's for the rest of their life, That is wrong.
Riley Brown Added Nov 24, 2017 - 10:21am
I think I did a  poor job defining my stand, I do believe people who attack and injure other people without the justification of self defense, so I do believe people who beat their partners, children or elderly deserve to be prosecuted just like they would if they did the same to a stranger.
I just don't believe a slap, or even an obviously unfulfilled threatening statement should ever be prosecuted or punished to the same degree as is deserved when someone really does beat someone up and send them to the hospital.
Simply Jews Added Nov 24, 2017 - 10:27am
OK, it seems that we've cleared the disagreements here. 
Doug Plumb Added Nov 24, 2017 - 1:34pm
This is really Bolshevism being implemented. People being arrested all the time during the Jewish Revolution in Russia is what characterizes this progressive change that started around 1917. It has to be built up under the guise of being Good.
Doug Plumb Added Nov 24, 2017 - 1:54pm
It is a symptom of over intrumentalizing the law - excessive Legalism which is the philosophy of instrumentalizing law instead of using juries or the chancery. The damage that this will do is already well known and was a hundred or more years ago.
  Its necessary because we have bills from international bankers that must be paid. Those bills become laws.
Thomas Napers Added Nov 25, 2017 - 5:20am
Posting a question and then offering three examples of abuse is not an article.  You should have explained what the three examples mean in terms of this bar. 
As for me, I don’t see any bar.  If anything I would argue the bar for what constitutes domestic abuse is just about right.  Perhaps there are a few stories where the courts got it wrong, that doesn’t mean the bar for all domestic abuse situations is wrong. 
Ben McCargo Added Nov 25, 2017 - 11:24am
Riley, to what you want to happen, more equivalence in sentencing where domestic abuse is concerned, I get that but I also agree somewhat with Thomas N. that we're almost where we need to be from a domestic abuse POV.  I can remember in the past when men were kicking the crap out of their wives and getting away with it, totally.  Cops were nodding and winking at dudes and driving off after a complaint had been duly lodged, only to have happen, in the very worst cases, the sob winds up killing the woman or the entire family.  We're not there anymore, thank God.  We're better but not great.  The problem is we're talking human behavior and it's hard to plan for all the shit we can do.   
mark henry smith Added Nov 25, 2017 - 3:48pm
I've been to that bar. Every drink comes with a twist.
Flying Junior Added Nov 26, 2017 - 1:09am
Coming in on the heels of your last two posts about spousal rape and sexual harassment, I'm calling bullshit.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Nov 26, 2017 - 4:15am
@ Riley. I dont know what state of America you are in, but in the USA, all a woman has to do is say her "mans" looked at her and made her feel uncomfortable and he is dragged out of his house to the slammer, with restraining order. If he is foolish enough to park on the next block and sees a man coming out of his house at midnight, he had better stand his ground in his car.
wsucram15 Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:14am
Riley; are slightly biased on this topic ( I dont know why-not my problem).
I am also biased either way...have seen and experienced both sides of your story above.  Personally and through the eyes of others I dealt with.
I didnt read about this stuff..I saw it.
Now is the law overbearing?  I would say the better rationale is there is NO balance.
Lets talk about the mentally ill mother who strangled the first child while the father not only defended her but slept in the next room.  They took the "babies" and ultimately released them back to the parents.  The babies the father watched the mother strangled one of the babies to death and one almost to death.  At least this time the father called the police.  Out of three kids, one survived.  
Do I think they have gone too far? Not when a cop you know tells you a story like that and its all over the news.  I actually thought he was going to quit over that, he was so disgusted.  He told me not long ago, as a LT, he has seen so much worse since then.  
I just dont think people realize how extreme human beings are to one another or that the police and other agencies are VERY limited as to what they can do.  Abuse involves submission of the weaker person.  It is difficult to judge a situation of "abuse" from that of a pissed off kid or spouse.  
The objective is to separate the keep any party out of jail.  If the father cares about his daughter, he knows that going to jail isnt going to help her.  He has to be smarter than she is, she is playing the system..he has to be one step ahead. 
With drugs..well, trying to get drugs from someone who is most likely addicted to them or their friends that are is an idiot.   Ignorance is NOT golden cannot slap sense into a person on drugs.  Protecting your self and supporting (not enabling) the person using is the only way out of that.
Violence is never an answer to anything..except possibly to answer a violent attack. (defense)   It makes things worse and takes longer to solve a problem.   You cant control your teach them.   As they grow, they learned something..but they have to go through things also..just like you did.   They are not you..they are their own people...
Riley Brown Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:24am
Thomas, years ago the bar was evidence that proved the person being accused actually did beat the tar out of someone close to them, very similarly to what is necessary today if the person is a complete stranger. 
Today you can accuse someone of pushing you, like a stranger in a store, and if you choose to call the police about all they will do is take a report since no one really got hurt.  In fact you can tell your neighbor what scum you think he/she is and that you intend to beat the tar out of them next time they park in front of your house, and all the police will do is take a report.
If you do the same with someone you live with, you are very likely to be arrested, thrown in jail, and end up with a felony record unless you have the kind of money it takes to mount a real good legal defense, and even then, you might still do time and end up with the felony.
Naya Rivera is facing a domestic battery charge after allegedly attacking her husband, Ryan Dorsey, in West Virginia.  She hit him on the face and lip while they were out on a family walk.  She was released on bond and will be in court soon.
If convicted her Felony criminal record will stop her from being able to apply for many different types of jobs, she has lost her right to vote, if she had guns they have taken them from her, and she will never again be allowed to own one.  She is a second class citizen and for all we know never drew blood, or left a mark on her spouse and we have no idea what he might have said or done to provoke it.  We do know there is no mention of her spouse needing or seeking any medical attention, but he recorded the "attack" with his cell phone, which makes me wonder if he might have set her up.
Riley Brown Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:37am
Ben, what I want is for the bar to move back to punishment that is justified by the severity of the crime.  What we have today in Domestic Abuse is punishment that often greatly exceeds the crime, for the intended purpose of getting people off the streets and in prison who MIGHT one day do real harm to someone in their household.
We all know that people who push around or verbally abuse other people are more likely to actually really beat the tar out of them, or even kill them than people who don't, but millions of people say stupid things and almost would slap a disobedient child or a cheating spouse.  Today the ones who are unlucky enough to catch the eye of the law go to jail and threats and slaps just aren't that severe.
People who are real domestic abusers deserve prison, not people who slap their kid or a cheating husband.
Riley Brown Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:38am
F. Junior, which parts of my arguments do you not agree with and why?
Riley Brown Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:42am
Dr. Green I see both sides, the ones that do terrorize and beat their spouses and seem to get away with it, especially when their spouse won't testify, and unfortunately ones like the examples I gave that I know personally.  
I do know and agree that the bar is so low that the first thing they do in many places is arrest the accused spouse, even if it's little more than he said she said, and the evidence looks fabricated, (like self inflicted bruises).  The police are afraid if they don't and someone is killed after they leave they will be sued. 
The whole thing is sick.
mark henry smith Added Nov 26, 2017 - 3:05pm
Riley, your last sentence says it all. I had the sister of my ex accuse me of unwanted sexual contact after she came up behind me and squeezed my tits and I turned and did the same to her. There was nothing sexual in my response, just tit-for-tat, and she knew it because she'd already propositioned me three times and been refused.
She told her mother, her boyfriend, her father, my ex, every one she could that I'd molested her and it was only when confronted with the truth of the encounter that she admitted that she'd started the interaction, and been after me for years. But still, I was labeled as the bad guy, and the rumor spread that I was a sexual predator. She was twenty-six at the time.
I spoke to a lawyer about this and he said all someone needs to present a case is the feeling of being threatened. Wow, that is setting the bar so low that it's buried in the dirt. And sorry if I offended you in my post. Some things that I think are funny, other people don't.
I for one like your style.  
Riley Brown Added Nov 26, 2017 - 6:57pm
Mark, I think it's unfortunate that we take the "signs" that often do proceed real domestic violence assaults almost as seriously as the real thing.  When the police treat someone who is accused almost as seriously as someone who commits a violent act, they take it too far.
I have no idea what the actual ratio is but I'm sure that for ever person who does run around molesting women, there are hundreds or thousands whose intent is no more threatening then your own as you describe it.  We are criminalizing behavior that does not rise to the level that should be necessary and wasting valuable police time running down people like you while thousands of crimes go unsolved because the police don't have time to focus on real crime.
One thing I've learned is that the real criminals, the ones who really do molest women, beat their partners and children, NEVER do it once, and most eventually do get busted.  I'm sad it takes that long to put most of them away for their crimes, but running around ruining thousands of other people's lives just because they show some of the same signs, won't solve the problem or ease the pain real victims feel. 
For the record, I thought your comic relief was refreshing.  Everyone needs to take a break once in a while.